Confirmations aside, there was a mountain of rumor and increasingly solid evidence in the past couple weeks. That mountain grew like a lava dome on Mount St. Helens, from Us Weekly's "Is She Hiding a Bump?" photo montage to the usual furtive online snaps, from a non-denial denial by Brad Pitt's publicist to a straightforward "and how" take from the News of the World.
"It's early days yet so they're not announcing it publicly, but anybody can see how thrilled the pair of them are," the British tab quoted a friend as saying.
No one ever doubted that Pitt would be the lucky father. And now that Jolie is indeed hatching a baby Brangelina, it's also fair to assume that despite her prior adoptive approach, she wouldn't stand for any Michael Jackson-like baster antics — a scenario contemplated for at least one other high-visibility power couple. You can't imagine a woman who has so often bragged about the notches on her bedpost would have it any other way.
Yet Angelina has always separated love from sex, and sex from her responsibilities as a mother. What she did with Mommy's Personal Time was her own business, but in a rare display of Hollywood candor, she made clear that her dalliances would never interfere with her love and care for adopted son Maddox.
Then came Brad.
The exact source of magnetism between the two — besides their mutually stunning looks and even more stunning success — remains a mystery, but they've fit seamlessly into each other's lives. There's that mutual save-the-world drive, with Brad tagging along on Angelina's mercy missions. There's him adopting her yen for flying small (if rather expensive) airplanes. The next logical step is matching his-and-hers Harleys, which would make a nice wedding gift.
But we're getting ahead of ourselves.
Even if you've got your moralistic groove on about Angelina's single-mom ways — even if you've thought she's bucking for Trollop of the Year — it's been hard to question her love for her children and her ability to create a family that, given the standards of her contemporaries, is pretty darn normal. All the toy-shopping and globehopping is a long, long way from any Joan Crawford coat-hanger moments.
For his part, Pitt always talked about wanting kids when he was married to Jen — indeed, that became a rumored reason for the fall-of-Troy end of that romance — so the one thing that ultimately made perfect sense was when he sought adoptive custody of Maddox, now 4, and baby Zahara. It didn't matter whether the details of Brad's fatherly ways were wholly genuine, or slightly touched up to help rehab his Cad Brad image after parting ways with La Aniston. The notion of Dad Brad is too appealing to tarnish, even if it broke a few throbbing hearts and Eva Longoria had to send her "I'll Have Your Baby, Brad" T-shirt to the thrift shop.
So with the happy little Jolie-Pitt family already well rounded, why would they feel the need for a homemade addition?
It could be a drive to destiny. After playing out a nuclear-family fantasy for that weirdly predictive cover of W Magazine last year, what else could be left but to let life imitate art?
It could be vanity. You can only assume what the offspring of these two huge beneficiaries of genetic goodwill would look like. If you're one of the world's biggest movie stars, it's not easy to find someone of equal stature — literally or metaphorically.
It could be that both finally found a mate who brought the right package to the table. Jolie's marriage to Jonny Lee Miller brought the prospect of an equally adorable child, but that never materialized and seeing as he apparently hasn't felt the urge to do the baby dance since their 1999 divorce, you can assume one or both of them weren't in tot mode at the time. And no one ever expected her pairing with Billy Bob Thornton to yield more than blood-vial jewelry, a lot of tattoos and the occasional bit of TMI.
Maybe the usual love/marriage/baby carriage progression hasn't quite gone as usual for Angelina, but when does it anymore?
Speaking of marriage, those stragglers whose knickers are in a knot over the lack of Brangelina wedding bands, even your concerns just might be soothed soon. News of the World reported Brad was ring shopping at Cartier, so it wouldn't be a huge surprise if Malibu caterers are soon being asked to bid on Ethiopian doro wat and Khmer banh chiao for 150.
Then family life could set in — all very normal, except for private flights up to compounds in the Canadian north woods and quick vacations to Dakar or Vientiane.
The kid stays in the picture
Whatever their plans, it's hard to ignore one Us source's assertion that both "are obsessed with building a big family."
Just how big will it grow? Angelina has one sibling, and Brad has two, so maybe "big" is relative. Whatever their plans, it's worth avoiding the pitfalls of a Mia Farrow-style gaggle.
If it's a girl, will she opt to portray tortured fashion models and improbably-bosomed action heroes, or something with more edge, like a bad-tempered mental patient ("Girl, Interrupted")?
If it's a boy, will he opt for roles as golden-locked ancient warriors and come-hither vampires, or something with more edge, like a crazy-like-a-fox mental patient ("Twelve Monkeys")?
Whatever happens, here's hoping the birth allows us all to hasten a long-overdue death for the term "Brangelina." If those two can stick together, the least we can offer as a baby gift is a better nickname.
MSNBC.com lifestyle editor would like to borrow Angelina's Cirrus SR22 for just one day.